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Headcrash Paperback – October 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446673145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446673143
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,596,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Bethke's send-up of the cyberpunk genre isn't just hilarious, it's also lots more accurate and insightful than books that take themselves so-o-o seriously. Headcrash is flat-out fun. -- David Brin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

An ex-surfer, ex-rock musician, ex-teacher, and ex-sausage maker, Bruce Bethke now lives a life of quiet bourgeois complacency in suburban Minnesota, where he works in software development for a really, really nice multibillion-dollar multinational company totally unlike the evil and psychotic multibillion-dollar multinational company depicted in this book. Honest. Besides being the accredited creator of the word "cyberpunk," Bethke has written numerous short stories, which have appeared in such magazines as Amazing, Asimov's, Weird Tales, and Easyriders, and more than two hundred computer software books, manuals, and articles. Headcrashis his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Tung Yin VINE VOICE on July 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Headcrash" started out slowly for the first chapter, which was devoted to establishing the nerdy thought processes of the narrator. After that, it kicks into high gear and never lets up.
Set in 2005, the plot is kind of a funny version of Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash" (without the Sumerian mythology) crossed with Jay McInerney's "Bright Lights, Big City," with some doses of William Gibson's "Neuromancer." The narrator works as a tech-nerd at a huge corporate conglomerate, with a horrible boss, gets fired, and is approached to cause some havoc at his former employer's information database.
Much of the novel is set in a virtually real Internet -- and for once, an author writing about virtual reality does NOT resort to the "if you die in here, you die in reality" trick.
Bethke pays homage along the way to an impressive collection of pop culture: "The Godfather," "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Sesame Street," "Brave New World," and "Doom" and other first person shooter games among others. He takes aim at political correctness (there's a law against Ethnic Humor).
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By superfly@surfsouth.com on January 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is the book that Snow Crash should have been. Now, before I am attacked as a heretic, let me say that I'd be the first to admite that Neal Stephenson is a much better writer than Bethke. It's just that Stephenson has a tin ear when it comes to humor, whereas Bethke is spot-on. As good as Stephenson's writing is, I found much of the humor in Snow Crash (which was another attempt at a send-up of the cyberpunk genre) to be slightly funnier than a dumb Saturday Night Live skit. Bethke's parody is much more inspired. It helps to be familiar with the shopworn cliches of cyberpunk before you read this. All the elements of your standard-issue cyberpunk thriller are mercilessly skewered in this book: characters who are so impossibly cool that they have to drink antifreeze, the ritualistic scenes of "suiting up" in incredibly cool cyber-equipment, hopelessly optimistic portrayals of the future of virtual reality, pointless fads of the present extrapolated into earth-shaking trends of the future, and the Incredibly Greedy and Faceless Corporate-Government Cartel that Controls the World. Tom Clancy, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael Crichton are also spoofed. Once again, Bethke's writing style is only marginally better than what you'd expect from a bright college sophomore, but it does the job. Now, if only we could have a novel with Stephenson's gifted writing and Bethke's sense of humor, we might really have something.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ben Tague on November 21, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In a massive sea of cyberpunk books that take themselves way too seriously, HeadCrash is a shining example of how humor can turn an ordinary novel into a piece of literature that everyone should read. Bruce Bethke has created a book that is truly engaging for the reader.
One way he accomplished this is through an interesting plot line with numerous twists that kept me constantly on guard. HeadCrash follows the story of :cybergeek" Jack Burroughs; a.k.a. Pyle; a.k.a. MAX_KOOL. The story starts with Jack going through a management shake up at MDE, Monolithic Diversified Enterprises. Later on, after Jack suddenly finds himself in a sticky situation, the reader watches as Jack uses his cyberspace alter ego, MAX_KOOL, and an embarrassing way to interface with the internet, to do a hack job for a mysterious woman known only as Amber. Saying anymore about the plot would lessen the amazing experience that any reader would have reading this book. The engaging plot and Bethke's outrageously funny style of writing made reading this book a truly positive experience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Claytor on November 30, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
HeadCrash by Bruce Bethke is a cyber-satire with a great mix of action, plot and humor. Jack Burroughs, the protagonist, is a computer nerd who works for an exceptionally large corporation by day, and by night on the Internet as the too-cool Max_Kool. But, when Jack is fired, he takes up a job as a free-lance cyber-mercenary. The action and hilarity ensues from there including hand-to-hand combat with seven-foot virtual Vikings, Nazis, and cross-dressing mob girls.
Bethke's writing style is so entertaining and fluid that you don't ever want to put down the book. This book is like a cyberpunk version of the movie OfficeSpace, but unlike most other cyberpunk books, HeadCrash does not take itself seriously in the least. This comes as a refreshing change to anyone who has read many cyberpunk novels, but despite that, I would recommend this book to anyone (with the exception to young children, if you get my drift).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Roddick on June 10, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Headcrash is a very good Cyberpunk-style book, especially considering that it is his first effort. The style is straightforward and much easier to ingest than Gibson's novels, which tend more towards the artsy end of things. I preferred Stephenson's books Snowcrash and especially The Diamond Age, but Diamond Age and this book suffered the same problem: a weak ending. I don't know if it is something about this subgenre that demands obtuse/confusing endings, but I get the feeling that it is the ride, not the destination that is the point. I will certainly read any other efforts by this author-- the ride is good enough to keep me interested.
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